Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remained tight-lipped about the uncertainty clouding the U.S. election this morning, saying his government will watch the results “carefully”.
“As everyone knows, there is an electoral process underway in the United States,” Trudeau told reporters gathered outside West Block Wednesday morning.
“We, of course, are following it carefully and we’ll continue to as the day and the days unfold.”
“Are you worried?” one reporter asked in French — but by that point Trudeau was already headed inside.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole offered a similar cautious message heading into a caucus meeting Wednesday, telling reporters in French, “We will wait to see the result.”
Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election count has spilled into Wednesday without a call for either President Trump or his Democratic opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden.
A number of key states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, are too close to call and millions of ballots may remain uncounted at this point. As of 12:15 p.m. today, Trump has secured 213 of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win, while Biden sits at 227.
Trump outperformed some of the polling averages that were published before election day and easily cruised to victory in Florida and Texas early in the night, despite some surveys suggesting the races there would be much closer.
In the industrial midwest states of Wisconsin and Michigan, Biden was on track to improve on past Democratic results.
In the wee hours of the morning, Trump said he would take the election to the U.S. Supreme Court to launch an unspecified legal challenge even as thousands of outstanding votes in several swing states had not yet been tallied.
“We want all voting to stop. We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list. Okay? It’s a very sad moment,” he said.
“This is a fraud on the American public,” Trump told supporters in the East Room of the White House. “This is an embarrassment to our country. Frankly, we did win this election.”
In a series of tweets Wednesday, Trump questioned changing vote counts as some state tallies shifted dramatically with the addition of mail-in and early in-person votes which skewed Democratic. State officials have said there is nothing untoward about the results and all ballots received before election day will be counted.
“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled,” Trump said “They started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the ‘pollsters’ got it completely & historically wrong!”
WATCH | Trudeau speaks briefly on U.S. election results:
Biden’s campaign responded to Trump’s claims, calling them “outrageous, unprecedented and incorrect.”
You can find full results from CBC here (note: CBC’s electoral college tally also shows states where candidates are leading).
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said there will be time in the coming hours — or days — for Trudeau to react, but not this morning.
“I think Mr. Trudeau should do nothing for the coming hours because the results will get more and more clear, and as they do so, there will be time to prepare a more clear position from the Canadian government,” he said Wednesday.
“Whatever our preferences might be, we have the obligation to respect and to stay away from internal American affairs, even if we have the opportunity to provide opinions, which I can do quite freely because I do not think I will be prime minister of Canada in the coming years, and I might think that it will take a little more than four years before Quebec becomes independent.”
Before the election, Trudeau and O’Toole both said they were prepared to work with whoever was elected.
Trudeau said Canada is “well-positioned and ready” to work with the American people and the U.S. government, regardless of the outcome.
WATCH | Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole comments on U.S. election results:
Trudeau said Canada has been able to work with Trump over the last four years, despite ongoing trade and tariff hostilities, and he’s prepared to do so again if the U.S. president is re-elected.
O’Toole said he’d also work to find common ground with whoever Americans choose to be their president on issues that are important to Canada.
But while Trudeau and O’Toole were careful to avoid taking sides in the American contest, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Blanchet both said they would be happy to see Trump trounced.
Singh tweeted that Trump has made the world a more dangerous place for everyone, while Blanchet said the “whole planet” would be better off if Trump lost.
WATCH | Blanchet on the U.S. election
“If I was an American, I would be a Democrat, and if I were a Democrat, I would be asking myself, what did we do wrong?” Blanchet said today.
“How come the American people support so much a man who openly lies, avoids paying his taxes, carries and shares prejudices against so many people? Why do the American people still support so strongly that man is a question that he does not have to ask himself — he’s faring pretty well. But the Democrats, the media, the institutions should ask themselves this troubling question.”
Bessma Momani, an international affairs specialist at the University of Waterloo, said Trump might expect Canada to say something after he prematurely declares himself the winner.
“A big challenge for Canada now is that Trump may want to declare victory before all votes are counted and expect allies to send in their congratulations,” said Momani. “For those who don’t, like Canada, who will want to wait this out, Trump will take this very personally (and) be punitive on trade matters.”
Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said the uncertainty is not good.
“From a business perspective, people want to know what to expect for the next four years,” he said. “But we’re simply going to have to wait.”